A Gardiner man is facing a federal charge of distributing cocaine base.

Bradford Christopher, 36, was arrested on the charge Wednesday and had an initial hearing later that day before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge John C. Nivison in Bangor.

Christopher then was released on $5,000 unsecured bail.

The offense carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Court records indicate Christopher is represented by attorney Jon Haddow and will be back in court on Sept. 2.

The complaint against Christopher says the offense occurred April 27, 2016, and involved a confidential source and a controlled purchase of illegal drugs that afternoon that occurred first in the parking lot of St. Joseph Church and then at a home on Lincoln Avenue.

An affidavit by Mathew J. Cain, an officer with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, describes the buy. It says five small bags of what appeared to be crack cocaine were purchased first for $250 from Christopher in the church parking lot.

Christopher then went with Cain and the other individual to get the other half of the drugs sought at the Lincoln Avenue address when an additional $250 exchanged hands.

Cain said that 3.2 grams of crack cocaine were purchased from Christopher.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

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Twitter: @betadams